Here’s why you might need a third COVID vaccine, says Pfizer CEO

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID vaccine has shown remarkable results so far, with a December 2020 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting that it is 94.6 percent effective in preventing a symptomatic COVID infection after two doses. However, in a new interview with NBC News, the CEO of Pfizer now says that a third chance may be necessary to achieve full protection. Read on to find out why you may need to get a third injection, and for more vaccine news, see This Other Vaccine Could Already Be Protecting You From COVID, Study Finds.

Close-up of vaccine vials
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During an interview with NBC News Lester holt, CEO of Pfizer Albert bourla He explained that by adding an additional third booster shot to the recommended two-dose vaccine, people will have greater protection against the highly infectious COVID variants that have been recently identified. “We think the third dose will increase the antibody response 10 to 20 times,” Bourla said.

Scientific Director of Pfizer Mikael Dolsten, MD, recently told Reuters, “The mutation rate in the current virus is higher than expected. It is a reasonable probability that we will end up with regular increases.”

A preprint of a January study from BioNTech, which worked with Pfizer to create the vaccine, found the doses to be effective against B.1.1.7. UK variant, expected to become the dominant strain in the US in March. But that may not be true with all mutations in the virus. For example, a February report by Pfizer and BioNTech, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that the South African variant can reduce the protective antibodies elicited by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by about two-thirds.

To prevent future widespread coronavirus infections, Pfizer plans to test the effectiveness of modified versions of the company’s existing vaccine against mutations, starting with the South African variant. And if you want to know more about the latest vaccine, here are the side effects of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, says the FDA.

Young doctor in white coat, holding hypodermic syringe and vaccine on test lap to cure coronavirus for future humanity.

Although it may have taken the better part of a year for the COVID vaccine to become available in the US, developing future boosters to address coronavirus mutants shouldn’t take that long. On February 22, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that vaccine companies could apply for Emergency Use Authorizations (US) for future coronavirus vaccines instead of conducting additional large-scale clinical trials. “In the event investigational vaccines are developed for the prevention of COVID-19, any assessment regarding a USA will be made on a case-by-case basis,” the FDA statement reads. And for more vaccine tips from the nation’s top agencies, see The CDC says not to do this within 2 weeks of your COVID vaccination.

General practitioner in protective uniform injecting the coronavirus vaccine to an elderly woman
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Pfizer is currently studying the efficacy of giving a third injection and, in a statement this week, Moderna He said the company is also “evaluating booster doses of the vaccine to increase neutralizing immunity against the variants of interest,” including the South African variant. (Also, Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, which should be approved for emergency use by the FDA this week, has been shown to be quite effective in clinical trials in South Africa itself, where it was 82 percent against serious diseases.) . As is the case with your first and second doses, your booster will likely be from the same company as your initial vaccinations.

While the precise time period for the most effective delivery of the third injection has not yet been definitively determined, the time between the participants’ first injection and their booster in recent Pfizer trials is six months to one year, reports NBC News. And to get the latest COVID news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The man receives the COVID vaccine in a doctor's office at the hospital.
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While getting your initial COVID vaccinations – be it one, two, or maybe now even three – is a good first step in getting the pandemic under control, Bourla explained that it probably won’t be a one-time deal. “Every year, you should go get a flu shot. It’s going to be the same with COVID,” Bourla said. And if you are still looking for an appointment, see You can get vaccinated at any Walgreens by this date.

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